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Homeless Veterans

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Homeless Veterans

Employment Programs

VA Employment Programs for Homeless Veterans

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For many Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, employment provides income and a pathway to reintegration into the community. Below is information about VA programs to connect Veterans exiting homelessness with employment. Learn more at VA’s Programs for Homeless Veterans and For At-Risk Veterans pages.

Employment in the Community

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Homeless Veteran Community Employment Services (HVCES) – Employment is a key element in helping Veterans transition permanently out of homelessness or avoid it altogether. The HVCES program makes it easier than ever for business and industry to find, interview and hire job-ready Veterans exiting homelessness. Through this program, VA has deployed more than 150 Community Employment Coordinators (CECs), based at most VA Medical Centers across the country, to collaborate with employers ready to hire Veterans exiting homelessness. CECs are recruiters’ connection to potential Veteran new hires for jobs in a wide variety of sectors.

How It Works

CECs increase Veterans’ likelihood of employment success by connecting them to job-related resources and career opportunities and a range of supports from VA and the community, including health care, housing and social services.

CECs also benefit employers in the following ways:

  • Pre-screen Veterans with a variety of skill sets and from all educational levels
  • Refer job-ready Veteran candidates who are ready to work from day one for open positions
  • Help facilitate hiring and onboarding
  • Assist Veterans in applying their military experiences to civilian employment
  • Help in meeting diversity and inclusion goals

More Information

Employment Toolkit

Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) – CWT is a national program that assists Veterans with mental health or physical impairment—including Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness—to obtain and maintain competitive employment. CWT programs include Community Based Employment Services (CBES), Individual Placement and Support Supported Employment (SE) and Transitional Work (TW). CWT provides Veterans with rapid job search and placement in competitive employment and with follow-on services for as long as requested and clinically necessary. CWT is among the many key collaborators with VA’s homeless programs.

How It Works

Veterans are assessed and assigned to one of the CWT programs based on their goals and necessary levels of support. Through CWT’s CBES and SE programs, Veterans receive job development support to obtain and retain competitive employment. Through the CWT TW program, Veterans are placed in a work assignment while receiving work adjustment support, with the goal of transitioning to competitive employment.

More Information

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) – VR&E helps Veterans and Servicemembers with service-connected disabilities and employment barriers prepare for, find and maintain suitable careers. For Veterans and Servicemembers with service-connected disabilities so severe that they cannot immediately consider work, VR&E offers services to improve their ability to live as independently as possible.

How It Works

Visit a local VR&E office to meet with a vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC), who will determine Veterans’ eligibility for VR&E benefits and services and whether there is an employment barrier (called a “serious employment handicap”). After VA makes an entitlement decision, Veterans work with the VRC on a rehabilitation plan that outlines the rehabilitation and other services that VR&E will provide.

Eligibility is determined if any one of the following criteria is present:

  • Servicemember with a 20 percent or higher pre-discharge disability rating (memorandum rating) who will soon leave the military
  • Participation in the Integrated Disability Evaluation System process and awaiting discharge due to a medical condition resulting from a serious injury or illness that occurred in the line of duty
  • Veteran discharged under conditions other than dishonorable and has a 10 percent or higher disability rating
  • Separated from the military and received a service-connected disability rating from VA within the past 12 years
  • Beyond the 12-year basic period of eligibility, the VRC determines that there is a serious employment handicap due to a service-connected disability

More Information

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